Friday, August 31, 2012

NuWa Tour and Chuy's!

Yesterday (or Tuesday) we got up early and drove to Chenute, KS for the NuWa factory tour.  Orville was our tour guide and there was one other couple on the tour.  They had just picked up their new Hitchhiker Discover America the day before.  NuWa has a campground nearby where they allow folks to set up their trade in RV next to the new one and take as much time as they need getting moved and testing all the systems on their new unit.  It was nice to hear from the other couple on the tour that it is exactly that way.  Some folks take 2 days, other take 2 weeks...

I told Orville I wanted to learn what the difference is between a $50K RV and a $100K one. The tour was very interesting and at the end of the day I think I had a better understanding.  We learned that NuWa builds each of their 5th wheels exactly the same way.  The difference in level comes in the finish out.  They finish about 1 unit each day, so it's not a rush job.  They also sell a number of other brands of 5th wheels.  We also learned that we think the MorRyde suspension and disc brakes will be good things to have on whatever 5th wheel we end up with.  Orville was great and didn't push us about anything.  We left feeling like we could call anytime we had questions.   

The only downside was that they had started moving some of their inventory to Hutchinson, KS for the Kansas State Fair.  On the upside we learned the Kansas State Fair starts September 8th.  We might need to check that out.

On the way to the tour, we also saw a number of custom painted combine/harvesters.  Kevin remembered seeing something about a combine derby on tv a while back that he thought was in Chanute.  When I checked the internet, low and behold, the Combine Derby is being held in Humboldt, Kansas on September 8th.  That's about 40 miles from here, so you know where we'll be next Saturday!  I'll try really hard to get pictures since I've been really bad about that lately.

When we got back to Buckeye we found our new neighbors, Jerry and Kim, had arrived with their beautiful new Landmark 5th wheel.  I think I'll have to work out a trade --  I'll teach Kim how her convection oven works in exchange for use of it to bake since we are currently ovenless!  Seriously, it's nice to meet fellow bloggers/travelers/Amazonians and I think they will be great neighbors.  We had a nice visit with them before heading back to our humble abode to cook dinner.  

This morning (or yesterday now) we got a call from Paul at saying my background check had come through and I was good to start work on Monday.  They are still waiting on Kevin's.  It's really frustrating but nothing we can do.  Hopefully his will come through in just a few more days and we'll both be at work.  No word on shift or job yet.  Won't learn that until Monday.

Later in the afternoon we ran down to Owasso/Tulsa to get my Sprint Hotspot taken care of.  It had quit working earlier this summer and this was the first time we were in range of a Sprint store to get it tested and on the road to replacement.  They've ordered a new one and it should be there tomorrow or Monday.  One more 150 mile round trip to pick it up!  But hopefully will ensure a more consistent internet connection which we are both missing a great deal!

Before heading back to Coffeyville we stopped at Chuy's, an Austin, TX based Tex Mex restaurant.  It was nice to get a fix of one of my favorite Austin institutions.  I left with a 32 oz container of their fresh salsa, which if folks are very nice I might share Friday at happy hour :-)   

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Just Chillin

We were supposed to start working at Amazon yesterday (Monday) but they seem to have run into problems getting the background checks completed, so we are just sittin and chillin.  Amazon is picking up the tab for our site since we were scheduled to start on Monday.

We played golf today.  It was fun even though my round sort of sucked.  But it's okay since I haven't played since Valentines Day.  Good news is that I only lost one ball.  I think my biggest problem is that I'm not good at playing "smart golf."  Like when there's a big tree between me and the green.  "Smart golf" would be to punch it out to the fairway and then go for the green.  Not me.  I have to try to go over the tree...  Unfortunately it rarely works out.  But then where's the fun in not trying?!?

Tomorrow we're going to go take the NuWa factory tour in Chanute, KS.  We figure since we have the time and it's only about 45 minutes away it would be a good idea.  It will be our first factory tour, so it should be interesting.  They also have a dealership and sell several lines of "full time" 5th wheels including a couple we haven't had a chance to look at.

We are also looking forward to meeting new full time rvers, Jerry and Kim who will be arriving in Coffeyville tomorrow.  

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Coffeyville, Kansas

We arrived in Coffeyville, Kansas yesterday afternoon and are getting settled in at Buckeye Estates.  It's been a little rainy and I've been suffering through some sinus pain so I haven't done much today.  Kevin went over to Columbia, MO with his sister to pick up his SUV.  We'd left it there when we went to North Dakota for the summer.  Couldn't see the expense of two vehicles, but he's missed his truck so I'm sure he'll be happy to have it back.

We got transmission replaced in the Avalanche in Fargo and opted to pay the $200 to put the additional warranty on the replacement transmission.   I'm not sure how much longer we will have the Avalanche, but the warranty is transferable so it seemed like a small price to pay for some good insurance.  They also said we need to replace some parts on the steering and should put new plugs and wires on it.  Not too bad for over 150,000 miles.

We are scheduled to go to the Sunday "Social" at Amazon tomorrow at noon.  This is where you meet the other workampers who are starting at the same time you are, fill out the employment paperwork and find out what jobs you will have officially.  Paul said we will be starting in Receiving and Stowing, but you never really know until you get there.  We're supposed to be working 6th shift, which would mean we go to work on Monday at 5pm if things are the same as last year.  We did have to fill out new background check forms.  It seems the company they were using is behind.  We emailed Paul the new forms on Thursday afternoon so hopefully all will be in order for us to start on Monday.  If not I guess we will see about playing golf!

Welcome to all our new readers.  Looking forward to seeing Randy and Tammy again in a few weeks and meeting new fulltimers and neighbors at Buckeye, Jerry and Kim.

Now off to see if I can organize a few things and then so see if we can find Rita for a glass of wine later!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

We had a plan, but the truck had other ideas

We decided to make August 12 our last day at Indian Hills Resort.  It's a great place for walleye fishing and the people and scenery are wonderful.  But 30 miles to the nearest grocery store, 80 miles to Walmart and no cell, internet or tv reception takes it's toll after a while.  And then we had the opportunity to start at Amazon a month early than we originally planned.  So August 13th we headed out.
Our plan was to spend a couple of days in Velva, North Dakota with my brother and sis-in-law, stop Fargo, North Dakota on Thursday to have dinner with my nieces and then head to Missouri arriving on Saturday to visit Kevin's family for week.  Unfortunately one niece had to work so we would have to miss visiting her this time through.
So after a few days visiting with John and Dorothy and taking care of some minor RV repairs (replaced some trim strips on the outside and cleaned water heater tubes), we headed to Fargo on Thursday.  We stopped in Carrington, North Dakota to have a bite of lunch and take a phone call from a research assistant at Rock Center with Brian Williams on NBC.  They are looking at doing a report on people who travel in RVs and work.  It was an interesting conversation and we agreed to talk more with them if they go further with the show.  It also took a bit longer than we planned, but we were finally back on the road for dinner with niece Amanda in Fargo.
We got about 30 miles outside of Fargo when the engine suddenly started revving erratically.  We pulled over and hit the OnStar button.  They ran a diagnostic and said the transmission had an problem reading but that we should be fine to drive the rest of the way and take it to the dealer for service on Friday.  We headed out and about 2 more miles down the road the check engine light came on.  Another call to OnStar with another diagnostic test and they were able to tell us that the electronic part that regulates fluid flow and therefore shifting in the transmission was stuck in the off position (they said what the part was but I've apparently blocked that information out.)  Again we were advised to take it easy, get where we were going and call for directions to the nearest dealer in the morning.  At this point I just have to say that it's completely amazing to me that they can tell me what is wrong with my truck as I'm sitting on the side of Interstate 94 in the middle of North Dakota!
We headed out again at 45 mph with the flashers going.  Now that's a lot of fun on the interstate!  We got about 5 more miles down the road when we saw an exit sign that indicated camping.  At this point our nerves were pretty shot, so we took the exit and pulled into a little campground next to the Days Inn in Casselton.  Full hookup, free internet and access to the hotel pool.  Sold!  We got set up and called Amanda who being the good niece she is drove out 20 miles to pick us up and take us in to Fargo where we had excellent pizza and a nice visit at Rhombus Guys Pizza.  Amanda brought us back to the trailer and we called it a night.
On Friday we got up, called OnStar who connected us with GM Roadside Assistance for a tow into the dealer.  Less than 15 minutes later the rollback truck was here to take us the last 20 miles to Gateway Chevrolet in Fargo.  They were great.  Got the truck right in and checked out the transmission.  Determined that it was a warranty repair and so hooked us up with a rental car.  They had to tear it down to the point of failure to determine whether repair or replacement of the transmission was called for.  
They ultimately decided to replace it.  Bad news was they didn't think they could get the new transmission in until Monday.  This was the point where we decided the truck had other plans for us.  You see my other niece, Alicia, had to work every day until Monday, so unless we were to stay until Monday we would not have seen her.  Apparently the truck decided we needed to see Alicia!  So we decided we might as well just go with it and stay till Tuesday morning.  We will have a shorter visit with Kevin's family, but we'll only be a few hours down the road for 4 months while we are at Amazon so we will have other chances to visit with them.
So we are chilling in Fargo, North Dakota.  The very good news is that since the transmission is under warranty there is no cost for the repairs or the rental car.  And since we have GM Roadside Assistance as a part of the $8 a month we pay for OnStar, the towing was covered as well.  So while we are sitting someplace different than we planned, it's not costing us anything extra.  The only thing we have to decide is if we want a 36 month / 100K mile warranty on the transmission instead of 12 month / 12K miles.  If so, we need to come up with $200.  The question there is do we think we will keep this truck longer than 1 more year.  Hopefully the answer is no since we really need to find a larger RV and that means a bigger truck.  But you never know.  Oh well, we have until Monday to decide that.
We got a call Saturday afternoon that the truck was actually done, but we decided to stick with our revised plan and stay until Tuesday morning.  Had a relaxing evening watching the Hunger Games and taking a dip in the hotel jacuzzi.  
Really cannot say enough good things about OnStar, GM Roadside Assistance or the great folks at Gateway Chevrolet.  They have made what could've been a very stressful situation as easy as possible.   Besides, I get to have more time with the nieces!